Terma launches three-year automation program

Danish firm Terma Aerostructures' plan is to develop and apply automation technology in composites fabrication to remove touch labor from its manufacturing processes.

Terma Aerostructures (Grenaa, Denmark) reports that is launching a three-year program to develop and apply automation technology in composites fabrication in an effort to remove touch labor from its manufacturing processes.

Terma will work with RoboTool, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Aalborg University (AAU), Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and the Dutch NLR – Netherlands Aerospace Centre.

"One of our biggest challenges in the production of aerostructures in carbon fiber is that a large part of the manufacturing process is manual," explains Jesper Freltoft, vice president, manufacturing engineering at Terma Aerostructures. Terma manufactures a number of parts in carbon fiber and composites for the F­-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. (See in-depth CW report on Terma here).

"With support from the Innovation Fund Denmark [12.8 million DKK; US$19.17 million], we will establish a technology center, where a consortium over the next three years will test a range of technologies that are necessary to develop robots and automated production technology. I expect that we can achieve a significant reduction in the total production time in large parts of our current production. This will truly strengthen Terma’s international competitiveness in the production of aerostructures," says Freltoft.

The six members of the consortium are contributing a test setup (RoboTool), a vision system for quality assurance (DTU), programming plus project administration (SDU), simulation and material models (AAU), and mechanics (NLR). Terma is responsible for managing the project and provides facilities for building a full­-scale test center.